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      A Two-Level Theory of Presidential Instability

      Latin American Politics and Society

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          This article analyzes the conditions that facilitate the ousting of Latin American presidents and the mechanisms that prevent their downfall. Drawing lessons from the impeachment of Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo, it extends previous arguments about the “legislative shield” to show that the same forces that sometimes conspire to terminate an administration at other times work to resist its demise. The argument underscores the interaction between legislators and social movements, two prominent actors in the literature on presidential instability. The article presents a two-level theory to identify possible configurations of mass and legislative alignments, and tests some implications of the theory with data for 116 Latin American presidents over 28 years. Multiple comparison tests based on random effects logistic models show that popular protests can be neutralized by strong support in Congress, and hint at the possibility that legislative threats can be neutralized by loyal demonstrators in the streets.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics

          “To have mastered ‘theory’ and ‘method’ is to have become aconscious thinker, a man at work and aware of the assumptions and implications of whatever he is about. To be mastered by ‘method’ or ‘theory’ is simply to be kept from working.” The sentence applies nicely to the present plight of political science. The profession as a whole oscillates between two unsound extremes. At the one end a large majority of political scientists qualify as pure and simple unconscious thinkers. At the other end a sophisticated minority qualify as overconscious thinkers, in the sense that their standards of method and theory are drawn from the physical, “paradigmatic” sciences.
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            Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research

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              Conceptual “Stretching” Revisited: Adapting Categories in Comparative Analysis.

              When scholars extend their models and hypotheses to encompass additional cases, they commonly need to adapt their analytic categories to fit the new contexts. Giovanni Sartori's work on conceptual “traveling” and conceptual “stretching” provides helpful guidance in addressing this fundamental task of comparative analysis. Yet Sartori's framework draws upon what may be called classical categorization, which views the relation among categories in terms of a taxonomic hierarchy, with each category having clear boundaries and defining properties shared by all members. We examine the challenge to this framework presented by two types of nonclassical categories: family resemblances and radial categories. With such categories, the overly strict application of a classical framework can lead to abandoning to category prematurely or to modifying it inappropriately. We discuss solutions to these problems, using examples of how scholars have adapted their categories in comparative research on democracy and authoritarianism.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Latin American Politics and Society
                Lat. Am. polit. soc.
                Wiley
                1531-426X
                1548-2456
                2014
                January 2 2018
                2014
                : 56
                : 01
                : 34-54
                Article
                10.1111/j.1548-2456.2014.00220.x
                © 2014

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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